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Dec. 20, 2005

Columbia, S.C. – The Executive Committee of the University of South Carolina’s Board of Trustees today (Tuesday, Dec. 20) approved a plan to build a new baseball stadium south of Blossom Street, adjacent to the Congaree River.

The 6,800-seat stadium, estimated to cost $20 million, will sit within a 29-acre tract of land — south of Blossom and west of Williams Street – that the university plans to purchase from Guignard Associates and others for $8.5 million.

University President Andrew Sorensen praised the leadership of head baseball coach Ray Tanner and the Guignard family’s commitment to the university as being vital to the project.

The baseball program, he said, “is among the nation’s elite. It deserves and will have one of the finest – if not the finest – collegiate baseball facilities in the country. Coach Tanner has worked diligently with us as this matter has evolved, and we owe him our thanks.

“There is absolutely no question that this would not be possible without the complete cooperation of, and collaboration with, Guignard Associates, demonstrating again that this family is a true catalyst for progress in the Riverbanks Region.”

Tanner, who has taken three Gamecock baseball teams to the College World Series, said the new stadium will be worthy of the people who have helped establish the program among the nation’s best.

“We are excited to be moving forward with a stadium and a location that will be second to none in all of college baseball,” he said. “Our new facility will be a very special venue for our former players, our current players and for our great fans.”

The baseball stadium is part of an even larger university initiative – known as Innovista – that will dramatically expand the university’s presence westward. Plans call for new research facilities, retail outlets and recreational venues.

Sorensen said Sasaki Associates of Boston, Innovista’s master planner, evaluated the potential site within the context of the overall planning effort.

“They gave an enthusiastic thumbs up,” he said. “They also recognized the cultural and historic `fit’ of baseball in this area and that the tract is sizable enough to handle issues such as access and parking. Another advantage is several former major league baseball players who live in the Granby community grew up playing for the Granby Mill Team.”

University officials have advanced the following time line for the stadium project:

Dec. 20, 2005 – Announcement of location for new Carolina Baseball stadium.
Dec. 20, 2005 – May 2006 – Community input, design work and local government approvals.
October 2006 – Construction on stadium begins.
October 2007 – Fall practice in new stadium.
February 2008 – 2008 baseball season begins in new stadium.